6 Budget Beauty Tricks From a Frugal Model

When it comes to making ourselves look presentable in public, you generally don’t want to use the term “budget” to explain how it’s done. I’m all about investing in expensive beauty products when necessary (see my post on Best Drug Store VS Best High End Makeup), but I’ve learned some great money-saving tricks that will make you feel a little less guilty about buying that expensive french face cream made from swan feathers and baby’s tears. Here are my favorite budget beauty tricks:

1. Fix broken powder: We’ve all been there before – you drop a $16 eyeshadow on the ground and watch in horror as it explodes all over your bathroom floor. Before you shed a tear for your beloved broken hue, try this trick for bringing it back from the dead:

 1. Scoop up the broken bits and dump them into a ziplock bag

2. Use the back of a spoon to crush the fragments into a powder consistency.

3.  Carefully pour the powder back into the container

4. Put a few drops of rubbing alcohol into the powder and use the back of the spoon again to pack down the now wet powder into the casing

5. Wait until dry – and voila! It may look a little jacked up, but you can now use your powder again

2. Clean makeup brushes with bar soap:  Skip the fancy cleaners for your makeup brushes and just rub them under warm running water onto a plain old unscented bar of soap. This works just as well and probably cleans more thoroughly. Blot with a clean towel and leave them out to dry.

3. Run hair under cold water for shine: A hairdresser at my fancy NYC salon taught me this trick. Before you jump out of the shower, turn the water cold and try your best just to soak your head while not completely freezing your ass off. Cold water seals your hair cuticle, creating shine and adding strength – plus you’ll probably also look wide awake and energized after the mild torture you endured.

4. Only buy beauty products where you can return: I only purchase makeup and beauty products at places with amazing return policies. There’s nothing worse than getting stuck with a color that looked great on the tester and terrible on your face, or doesn’t work with your skin and hair the way you expected. Drugstores like Duane Reade will let you return with a reciept, but places like Sephora will return things with just an ID. I’ve even returned powders that I’ve broken (and couldn’t fix) months later without a receipt to department stores – saving me a ton of money by not having to replace them.

5. Use toilet protector sheets as blotting paper: This was a great tip from a fellow model who scoffed at me when she saw me using expensive blotting papers for my unreasonably oily face. Most restrooms are equipped with toilet protector sheets, and no one will judge you for using it to soak up the sweat from dancing on a table in some nightclub (although they may judge you for that).

6. Use your toothbrush as a lip exfoliator: A great makeup artist told me about this one, and I’ve been doing it for years. After you brush your teeth at night, use your wet toothbrush to scrub the dead skin off your lips, and then apply a nice lip moisturizer before bed. You’ll wake up with kissable lips even if the only thing you wake up to is your cat sitting on your face.



  1. I love this! THX!

  2. Old tooth brushes also work well to make eyebrows not look like “drawn on lines”.

  3. Love the tip about cleaning brushes with regular soap! I just gave it a try with some dish soap, and it works just as well as brush cleaner. Thanks for the idea! That’s a few more $$$ I’ll be saving :-)

  4. Love – Women helping Women! Thanks for sharing!

  5. TIP**** its actually better to use olive oil and dish washing liquid for your burshes. I do. I mix a little of both and get to work. my brushes come out soft and fresh

  6. I love using pure lanolin on my dry lips. I had one tube of Lansinoh lanolin that i
    did not use anymore and then i thought it should work for my lips. And it’s great.

    Another tip is not throwing away unloved shower gel. I used to keep them arround until they expired and then throw away. Now i use the shower gel that i don’t like as hand washing gel.

    And now i only buy samples for the shower gels that i want to try and IF i like the sample then i buy the big size bottle. In my country a returning policy is practicaly non existent.

    I personally do not understand the idea of hitting pan in an eyeshadow and then throwing it away when there is so much product still left. This should save up a lot of money

  7. Great tips & tricks! Another important one I just discovered is to use corn starch as dry shampoo. It works really well and costs next to nothing.

    Elizabeth Hannum

  8. Jeesun Kim says:

    I use a shampoo to clean my brushes. My friend that works at Nordstrom told me that that’s what they use to clean their make up brushes.

    I love #5 and #6!!!

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